The fall of spreadsheets and the rise of people analytics

Sharon Monteiro
min read
The fall of spreadsheets and the rise of people analytics

From their poker faces to being the office party buzzkill, HR has no shortage of clichés associated with their role. True or not, they are a popular part of office lore. The most common among the HR clichés are how the role of the HR personnel has become synonymous with spreadsheets. Right from the inception of VisiCalc in the 70s, to SuperCalc, Multiplan, to the Lotus 1-2-3, and to the recent Microsoft Excel, the spreadsheet has been the default management tool, and still continues to be the management tool of choice for HR professionals around the world.

And we certainly get the charm. When the company is small or relatively new, there isn’t a lot of complex information for HR to operate upon. This gives HR personnel more comfort and flexibility in using free and relatively available spreadsheet tools such as MS Excel. It was a natural progression from keeping paper records of attendance, payroll, or leave management. And as a manger for small to medium-size teams, keeping a close record isn’t really tough. All it requires is a person with basic computer knowledge to handle the day-to-day management on spreadsheets.

This method of management works but for a while. However, as small and medium-sized businesses scale-up and expand their operations, HR processes also evolve and expand. HR tasks become complicated, and spreadsheets become inefficient in providing the data and analytics the organisation may need in real time or otherwise. The tools that were once easy to use and flexible for carrying out calculation and analysis would eventually become unsustainable and prone to major errors.

The inefficiency of spreadsheets

The fall of spreadsheets and the rise of people analytics | peopleHum

1.  Poor control restrictions

A spreadsheet can be password protected, but that’s as far as you can go when it comes to restricting who can use, view, and modify it. There is no firewall that only allows files to be viewed “for manager’s eyes only”. Data is vulnerable to alterations, and as files get passed down through the email chain, they are more susceptible to being corrupted.

2. To human is to err

When managing complex calculations for sizeable organisations on spreadsheets, you are bound to be prone to human errors. Especially when spreadsheets are managed by several people, the scope of manipulation is high.

3. Slows down decision-making

Analyzing data on spreadsheets can take an excessively long time to manage. With the duties of data extraction, processing information, preparing reports, and making analysis, the process gets too time consuming and is an unsuitable path towards quick decision-making.

4. Doesn’t support automatic reporting

Delivering standard reports on a regular basis can only be handled through manual intervention. Sending tedious emails are the only way to get the information into the right hands.

5. Unreliable for scalability and accuracy

Too many HR personnel can spoil the data broth. As business operations expand and HR management becomes more collaborative, spreadsheets become an unsustainable and unreliable database for accurate information.

But the fact is that free, readily available and easily manageable spreadsheet tools have been an immense support for small businesses, which has consequently led to its extensive use. However, the comfort of familiarity offered by spreadsheets can only lead to suffering for the organization. It is not geared to face the challenges of a growing organization with evolving HR processes, even more so with entire workforces working away from the office.

HR needs to step up their processes. As they once shifted from paper records to spreadsheets, the time has come for cloud-based people analytics solutions to take over.

peopleHum can be the solution

The move to automated people analytics solutions isn’t the daunting mountain against the molehill that it has been characterised to be. You don’t have to pay attention to those stories of calling on IT for every problem, because peopleHum’s no-code human capital solution allows administrative activities to be hassle-free.

Intelligent analytics and reporting is baked into every employee-driven function, thus making it easier to record data on engagement, productivity, learning, and growth.

The fall of spreadsheets and the rise of people analytics | peopleHum


Rather than a data-dump of recruitment metrics, get a rich, organised dashboard with comprehensive graphs that gives insights into your recruitment funnel, and provides the information you need to improve your hiring decisions.


Administrative functions like attendance and leave management can now be recorded automatically and digitally. In addition, managers can gain access to records on the team, organization or an employee’s attendance, within seconds.


Measuring employee experiences is crucial so that employers get an understanding of what’s keeping them engaged and aspects that could be worked upon. With peopleHum, view your engagement index heatmap personalised for the organization. Discover patterns of engagement and growth, and reward productivity accordingly.


Get a dashboard of comprehensive insights on the performance of teams and individuals. Measure accomplishments against goals, measure growth through performance scores. With these readily available and nuanced metrics, performance appraisal cycles become faster, richer and insightful processes.

peopleHum takes the grunt work out of HR maintenance. Its user-friendly platform makes sit easy to access data without having to scan a document to get the information you seek. Data is centralised and protected, which means that it is accessible to key stakeholders.

It is scalable, easy to use, and can be utilised by organizations of all sizes. But why wait, when we can show you how it’s done? Contact us to book a demo, and learn more about the benefits of switching to a cloud solution for processing your organization’s critical people analytics.

We hope you got some great insights from this blog. Its now time to apply it. Get started with peopleHum for free today. No credit card needed.

HR analytics
automation in HR
HR technology

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